Christians flee Pakistan only to find more heartache and challenges in their place of refuge

Pakistani Christians shout out their faith in protest against the persecution of their fellow believers.Reuters

Out of the frying pan into the fire.

Such a fate has befallen a Christian family who fled persecution in Pakistan only to realise later on that their situation has gone from bad to worse.

Interviewed by CBN News recently, Mustaq Faisal said he and his family had no choice but to abandon their home in Pakistan and flee to Thailand after he and his family were marked for death by their Muslim neighbours last year.

In quivering voice and eyes filled with tears, Faisal recalled an incident when their neighbours accused him of tearing pages from the Quran and threatened to kill his family in revenge.

"I was so scared. I told them I would never do anything like that to their holy book, but they didn't believe me," he said.

Faisal became so fearful that he decided to take his wife, Samina, and son, Joshua, to Thailand, imagining the latter as a country where they can start a new life and freely practice their Christian faith without being threatened by Muslim zealots.

He and his family filed an asylum application with the U.N. However, six months after arriving in Thailand, the U.N. agency responsible for protecting refugees still could not issue them any asylum document.

With his family's three-month tourist visa in Thailand having lapsed, Thai immigration police came to arrest them since overstaying a tourist visa is illegal in this Southeast Asian country.

"I was not at home when the Thai police came to our apartment," Faisal said. "My wife told them she was a heart patient and that they should not arrest her, but they didn't listen."

The police arrested Samina and Joshua and took them to the Immigration Detention Center (IDC).

Samina's heart condition worsened and she got very ill last Dec. 20, but Thai authorities refused to bring her to a hospital.

Faisal went to the U.N. office and pleaded officials there to help his sick wife. "I kept asking, I kept crying, but they did not listen to me," he told CBN News.

He also begged the guards in the detention facility to at least heart medications to her wife.

"I told them that if you don't do anything, she will die," he said. His plea fell on deaf ears.

Faisal's wife and son were detained in a facility where the illegal migrants were denied access to healthcare and medicines, according to Wilson Chowdhry, the director of British Pakistani Christian Association.

The facility houses 200 people crammed in rooms that barely fit 100 with only two toilets, according to Chowdhry.

"The stench as you walk in is overpowering," the Christian human rights advocate told CBS News.

Moreover, some of the male detainees were "chained like dogs," he added.

On Dec. 30, 2015, the U.N. finally responded to Faisal's asylum plea, but it was too late for his wife Samina who died in detention.

"My life is so terrible right now," Faisal said as tears streamed down his cheek. "We faced so many difficulties in Pakistan and that's why we escaped to Thailand. Now I'm here and my wife is dead! What am I supposed to do? My son keeps asking, 'Where is mommy?' But I don't have the courage to tell him the truth."

Six other Pakistani Christian refugees have also died in Thai detention centres.